Iconic King Records studio now on National Registry of Historic Places

Provided in September 1943, singer-musicians Grandpa Jones and Merle Travis made the first...
Provided in September 1943, singer-musicians Grandpa Jones and Merle Travis made the first recording for Cincinnati's King Records, which was founded by record producer Syd Nathan. King Records' list of artists went on to include James Brown, Betty Clooney, Steve Lawrence, Bob Braun, Trini Lopez, Minnie Pearl, Hank Ballard, Freddie King, the Stanley Brothers, Cowboy Copas, and Mickey Rooney.(Cincinnati Enquirer)
Published: Sep. 22, 2022 at 12:49 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - The iconic King Records studio building in Evanston is now on the National Registry of Historic Places.

Owned by Syd Nathan, the record label started in 1943 and was active until 1968.

Artists like James Brown and Bootsy Collins were among the most notable artists associated with King Records.

The label was a music pioneer, says the report, producing trailblazing hits in soul, bluegrass, doo-wop, jazz and blues while birthing new musical genres like rock and roll, funk and hip-hop.

“King Records crossed racial lines and recorded bluegrass, jazz, funk, soul and more. It is argued that the label produced some of the first rock n’ roll ever recorded,” wrote the Cincinnati Preservation Association.

At its height, King Records employed an integrated workforce of 400 people who recorded, pressed, packaged and shipped vinyl records around the world, according to a 2015 report prepared by the Bootsy Collins Foundation and the Cincinnati USA Music Heritage Foundation.

The city stepped in to save King Records from being demolished in 2015 by applying a historic landmark designation, according to city documents. It would purchase the complex in a property swap two years later, and in October 2018 funds were allocated to stabilize the buildings.

There are plans in place to transform the building into a community cultural space.

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